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History Survey I


Program Masters
Field of Study History
Class# H 300
Instructor Sawyer, Ken
Location Common Room
Start Date 9.7.2010
End Date 12.10.2010
Time 6:00-8:50p.
Day Mon

Course Description Masters Level

McCormick Theological Seminary


Course Number and Title: H300   Church History Survey I


Faculty:  Ken Sawyer


Term:    Fall Semester, 2010


Course Description: This course presents the story of Christianity as a world movement. We will identify important aspects of the Christian movement, showing the emergence of Christian institutions and practices and the development of distinctive vocabularies of Christian faith. We will also present models of interpretation in the history of Christianity by pursuing issues of identity and method, in order to trace the origins of theological concepts that continue to inform contemporary Christian communities. We will also track movements of renewal and reform within the Church. Theological texts, terms, and traditions will be placed in historical context as we go along. We will seek to introduce aspects of the inter-relationship of Christianity with Judaism and Islam, though this course is consciously and intentionally Christian in orientation and presents the story of Christianity from the perspective of Christians through the ages.


This course is the first of a two-course survey sequence. While it is not necessary to take this course first, it is advised to do so.



Course Objectives:

1.students will be introduced to the broad outlines of world Christianity through lectures, readings, discussion group work, and written assessments;

2. students will be introduced to printed church history reference works typically found in

library reference collections. Some assignments will be based on use of these reference works.

3. students will be introduced to online resources in church history, and to the ATLA

databases, and will learn to conduct searches of these sources;

4. students will pursue graduate level research projects in description and analysis;

5.students will be introduced to a variety of Christian practices.

6.students will be introduced to aspects of the history of Judaism and the history of Islam, in relation to the history of Christianity.





Masters Program Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes established for each degree program are below. The ones that are underlined are those addressed by the course above. Because a course may be taken by students in any masters degree program, outcomes in more than one degree program may be addressed by this course.


M.Div. Learning Outcomes            

  1. Lead communities of faith with integrity, imagination and compassion.
  2. Perform the skills related to nurturing the life of faith (for self and others) including preaching, teaching, care-giving, leading public worship and public ministries.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the Bible and Christian traditions and the ability to interpret texts and practices.
  4. Work and worship with people from diverse backgrounds (racial, ethnic, religious) informed by knowledge from cross-cultural and anti-racist perspectives.
  5. Analyze social locations and cultural contexts in order to develop contextual forms of Christian ministry.
  6. Be proficient in the theological and ethical reflection related to situations and decisions in local, national and global contexts.
  7. Practice appropriate habits of spiritual formation and self-care and possess a growing, healthy sense of vocational identity.

MTS Learning Outcomes

  1. Exhibit the ability to interpret and teach Christian traditions, texts, and practices that nurture the life of faith and scholarship in themselves and the communities they serve.
  2. Articulate a point of view effectively and coherently in spoken and written communication.
  3. Engage in theological research and analysis based upon an argument and construct a theological essay or thesis article.



MA in Discipleship Development Learning Outcomes

  1. Teach basic concepts of Christian belief, traditions and practices.
  2. Equip others to engage in a variety of spiritual practices (such as prayer, hospitality, or worship).
  3. Plan and lead programs of Christian formation in a variety of settings.
  4. Analyze and evaluate resources and practices for Christian formation.


MA in Urban Ministry Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine and analyze urban contexts using Chicago as a laboratory / case study.
  2. Draw on biblical and theological resources to reflect ethically on issues of church and society.
  3. Demonstrate capacity to engage in cross-cultural ministries.
  4. Evaluate skills and strategies to organize communities and access political power in urban settings.


Primary Texts (and ISBN numbers)

Dale T. Irvin and Scott W. Sunquist. History of the World Christian Movement. Vol. 1 (Orbis,

2001).  ISBN-13:    978-157053961    [512 pages]

Andrea Sterk and John Coakley, Editors. Readings in World Christianity vol. 1 (to 1453) (Orbis

2004).  ISBN-13   978-1570755200     [435 pages]

Primary documents from the Christian Classic Ethereal Library. free at


Approximate amount of work per week students can expect (reading, writing, etc.)  an average of seventy-five to one-hundred pages of reading/preparation per week over the course of the semester, plus the reading appropriate to your research projects.


Course Assignments and Projects:

1.A mid-term essay relating to the early church (in class exam).

2. A mid-term essay making use of research skills of a) selection/definition of research topic; b) crafting a research strategy; c)evaluation and documenting primary and secondary sources; d) composing an essay appropriate to the tasks of accuracy and description of issues of interpretation. [6-8 pages]

3.A final research paper based on the essay from #2, suitably revised to include a research topic question joined with an appropriate analysis. This final paper will exhibit skill in research and revision. [12-15 pages]

4.A timeline suited to this course;


5.quizzes, group discussion work, group discussion of texts


6.Memorization of the Apostles’ Creed